I remember when I was a wee Jersey lass my mother telling me to drink skim milk in order to avoid the calories of whole milk. Supposedly skim was better for you—it had all of the good milk nutrients, but none of the fat. Seemed pretty self-explanatory. So, up until a week ago, skim milk was the only kind of milk I drank (plus or minus chocolate, cause I’m 5).
Then everything changed when the fire nation (read: scientists) attacked (read: science’d).
As it turns out nutritionists have been getting milk wrong for the past 50 years. There’s actually very little scientific backing to skim milk leading to better health outcomes than whole milk, and skim milk may actually be worse for you than whole. Seriously, am I the only one whose mind is getting rocked right now?!
Here’s some of the reasoning behind it:
You Need Fats to Absorb Nutrients
Most of the nutrients in milk, i.e. vitamin D, E and A, are fat-soluble, meaning that your body absorbs them better if they’re delivered with fat. So, if you remove the fat from milk, you’re seriously inhibiting your ability to absorb the good stuff. I slept through my Foods and Nutrition class back in high school, so I gonna have to trust these guys on this.
Skim and Low-Fat Milk Contain Powdered Milk
…To make it more milk-y. Seriously though, powdered milk gets added to the low-fat milks in order to fortify proteins and to make sure everything stays a good shade of white. Much like my skin. (God I need spring break). This doesn’t sounds too bad until it turns out powdered milk is made with oxidized cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol is linked to a lot of bad things, from clogged arteries to even being a possible carcinogen. Compared to natural cholesterol that (in small doses) can work as an antioxidant, it definitely raises some questions as to what’s going on with skim.
Skim Milk Contains Added Sugar
Dude… I was kind of joking about the chocolate milk before. To make reduced fat milk more appealing to kids, flavored milk has been on the rise. Skim milk just doesn’t taste as good as whole, so companies have been sweetening it to make sure kids drink it. Reduced fat chocolate, vanilla and strawberry milks are everywhere, and, let’s be honest, they do taste pretty good. However, that’s an extra 13 grams of sugar than a cup of whole milk, when you could just be drinking whole milk.
Low-Fat Foods Don’t Mean Less Calories
According to Time, while low fat foods do technically have fewer calories, that doesn’t necessarily mean your lowering your overall calorie intake. Sure a cup of skim milk does have fewer calories than whole milk, but it’s less filling overall, meaning that you’re more likely to either eat more or drink more, sooner. Seriously, in a study done in March 2013, kids who were drinking low-fat milk were more likely to be heavier than kids who drank whole milk.
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Low-Fat Milk Increases Triglyceride Fats
Ok, so ignoring the fact that triglyceride sounds like an X-Men reject, it’s basically just a fancy way to talk about the fat stored in our bodies. Eating the wrong types of fat (i.e. saturated fat, trans fat and straight up butter sticks) will raise the amount of triglycerides in your blood stream, which in turn can result in blood clots, cardiovascular diseases and strokes. So, just like the calorie argument before, low-fat milk can result in drinkers eating more high-glycemic-index foods in order to fully satiate themselves.
So, besides the fact that everything I’ve ever known is a lie, it seems like whole milk is the way to go. It’s more filling, nutritious and doesn’t have any nasty additives. Skim milk was just marketed the right way to make us believe that is was better for you.
… Much like milk in general, in turns out.
GOT LIES, MILK?!